Anwar to close month-long Kaamatan Festival for second time

KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will again close this year’s Kaamatan (harvest) Festival on May 31.

This marks his second appearance at the month-long celebration, known as Sabah’s largest cultural event, with the first being last year.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan confirmed this Monday (May 20), adding that Anwar will be taking on the slot, which is traditionally graced by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, at the Hongkod Koisaan in Penampang.

Among the main highlights scheduled for that day is the crowning of the Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen), which is also a tribute to the legendary Huminodun, said to be the most beautiful maiden and daughter of the gods Kinoingan and Sumundu, who sacrificed herself to save the people from famine.

This legend is also the basis of the annual month-long Kaamatan festival, which showcases cultural performances, singing competitions, handicraft exhibitions and sales, and traditional sports.

“Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had requested to grace the event on May 30,” said Kitingan, who is also the state Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister, after a courtesy call on the former at the Istana Negeri, here.

Themed “Kaamatan, Poingalib Kohimaganon Taakanon” (Kaamatan Beyond Food Security), the vibrant festival of the Kadazandusun, Murut, and Rungus communities was launched in Ranau on May 1.

This marked the beginning of a series of celebrations across the state, culminating in the state-level festivities on May 30 and 31.

The Deputy President of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) emphasised that this annual festival should be recognised as a national event, given its widespread celebration.

Kitingan said Kaamatan is already celebrated in other states in Malaysia through the KDCA branches in Klang Valley, Penang, Johor, Melaka, Perak, Sarawak, Putrajaya and Labuan.

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